Carbon Dependency damages your health!!

Frances Mortimer
Frances Mortimer • 20 March 2009

The UK Public Health Association’s 17th Annual Public Health Forum (Brighton Centre 25th and 26th march 2009) is majoring on the impacts of climate change on human health. And it has identified Carbon Dependence Syndrome as being a major contributor to the Obesity epidemic.

Delegates at the conference will be introduced to the Carbon Addict and his website,, which is the world’s first ever guide to the medical management of carbon dependence!

They will also be offered the opportunity of being ‘screened’ for the Syndrome by me and a team of Brighton medical students in the conference exhibition area, and encouraged to join in raising public awareness of this life threatening condition!

UKPHA Chief Executive Angela Mawle says: “We are taking a light hearted approach to a devastating problem. Our Carbon Addict shows the human face of the carbon crisis and how our addiction is threatening the health of the planet and the human race as a whole. But simple actions like taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking or cycling instead of using the car will cut carbon emissions at the same time as improving health."

The obesity epidemic is probably the single greatest health burden generated by carbon dependence - to date. It is linked closely to carbon consumption both in the form of calories ingested and calories burned in the transport sector. (One US study has found that every hour spent in a car per day is associated with a 6% increase in risk of obesity [1] while a study in Chinese men showed those acquiring a car to be twice as likely to become obese [2].)



[1] Obesity relationships with community design, physical activity, and time spent in cars, Frank, LD et al., American Journal of Preventive Medicine; 2004 vol 27; No 2, pp 87-96 

[2] The Road to Obesity or the Path to Prevention: Motorized Transportation and Obesity in China, A. Colin Bell, Keyou Ge and Barry M. Popkin; Journal: Obesity; 2002, Volume 10: p.277-283


Comments (3)

Frances Mortimer
Frances Mortimer

Screening for carbon dependency was a great success at the UKPHA conference!

Delegates queued up to be interviewed by our team of medical students, and enthusiastically (and very honestly!) completed the CAGE addiction screening questionnaire, before being warned of the possible complications of the syndrome. Many were found to be already suffering from complications such as mental distress and overweight, and were reassured to know that treatment is available.

The controversial flatus analysis, trialled at the event, again proved unpopular.

We are confident that by picking up early cases we have initiated the rehab process and helped to avert a significant burden of ill-health.

Image removed.

Dr Gundersen and Dr Walker at the screening booth.

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